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Neurology. 2005 Feb 8;64(3):469-74.

Cluster headache prevalence in the Italian general population.

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  • 1Headache Center, Section of Neurology, Department of Neuroscience, University of Parma, Italy.



Prevalence of cluster headache (CH) is estimated at 56 to 69 per 100,000.


To calculate the CH lifetime prevalence in a sample representative of the Italian general population over age 14 years.


Possible CH cases according to the diagnostic criteria of the 1988 International Headache Society classification were screened from a sample of 10,071 patients (5,311 women and 4,760 men; mean age 50.4 years, SD 19.7 years) registered in the lists of seven Parma-based general practitioners (GPs), using a previously validated, specially designed, self-administered questionnaire.


Seven thousand five hundred twenty-two subjects (74.7%; 3,971 women and 3,551 men; mean age 50.8 years, SD 19.0 years) responded to the questionnaire in their GP's office (n = 3,338; 1,885 women and 1,453 men) or at home by mail (n = 1,914; 1,030 women and 884 men) or by phone (n = 2,270; 1,056 women and 1,214 men). Of the 111 suspected cases (76 women and 35 men), 105 were seen by a neurologist and 6 were contacted on the phone. The diagnosis of CH was confirmed in 21 (9 women and 12 men), including 7 already followed at the authors' center for CH. Seventeen patients had episodic CH, and four (all men) had chronic CH. The estimated prevalence rate was 279 per 100,000 (95% CI 173 to 427), 227 per 100,000 (95% CI 104 to 431) in women, and 338 per 100,000 (95% CI 175 to 592) in men.


These results point to a higher cluster headache lifetime prevalence than previous reports.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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